If you ask Sonia Chase, there's nothing about her to get too excited about. She's just a normal, average, everyday high school sophomore.
And then she steps on a basketball court.
When the game's about to begin, Chase, a 5-foot-11 guard for McDonogh, leaves all the normal things about her on the sidelines.
The big smile vanishes, leaving a stone-like game face. So does her carefree attitude, and it becomes apparent that she is not ordinary at all.
Chase's extraordinary play on the court has brought her much attention, from both colleges and followers of the sport, many of whom have labeled her the area's best female player. But she doesn't like that at all, and will be the first to let everyone know.
"I don't consider myself the best player," she says. "There are many well-rounded players -- both on and off the basketball court. I'm just
proud to be one of them."
She'll also be the first to spread the accolades around. "I couldn't do it without my teammates, my mom, or my coaches," she says. The real credit, however, goes to a higher authority: "I just thank God for giving me the skill."
Basketball is nothing new to Chase, who's been playing in one league or another since the age of 7, when she began her career as a member of BNBL's Project Survival program. She's been a member of this area's AAU/Junior Olympic team, which competes nationally. It's there that she learned a lot about the game. "I picked up my skills playing Junior Olympics," she says.
At McDonogh, where she's also a member of the girls soccer team that almost won a league title, Chase is a crowd favorite, known to all simply as Sonia. Her accurate three-point shot and up-tempo style give fans a lot to cheer about. And head coach Becky Clark, in her third season, is always among those cheering the loudest.
"Since Sonia's come on to the varsity team, she's helped raise the level of play," Clark says. "She's helped increase the style of our game to a high-paced level."
As a freshman, Chase led McDonogh to an undefeated season -- the only one in the area -- and an AIS league title. This year, the Eagles are once again undefeated in the AIS, and Chase is averaging more than 20 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, and nine steals a game. She couldn't be happier.
"I went there [McDonogh] in the seventh grade, and it's been great," she says. "I wouldn't trade it for anything."
McDonogh wouldn't have it any other way, either.